History of Baseball State Championships (1928-2020)


Active member
Does anyone know why the change was made between 56 and 57 of still having only two classes but changing the names from A B to A AA?

Probably done for very early PC reasons as the Minor League Class structure didn't change from AAA AA A B C D until the 1963 season.


New member
FWIW-Bill Davis stadium was not opened until the 1997 OSU season. Any games played at OSU during the years mentioned would have been at Trautman Field. I think Trautman seated around 1500 where as Bill Davis seats 4000 plus.
Always a thrill to be in the final four regardless of the venue.


Well-known member
My father- in-law was the third baseman for the 1928 Centerville team. It was so much fun to hear him proudly tell the stories of that team. They won the first state championship in baseball ever played and that is Centerville's only championship in baseball ever.


Well-known member
is this the end of Elder winning once in ten years ........

Elder coach blow it against Moeller in 2012 at UC.........


Well-known member
Probably done for very early PC reasons as the Minor League Class structure didn't change from AAA AA A B C D until the 1963 season.

BINGO ~ it was for PC...but there was also a change around the same time as to how the Class-B (soon to be single A) basketball tournament was structured.



RW&B 71

I also appreciated the listing all the state high school champs, especially my alma mater's wins in 2008 and 2009. I believe they (Patrick Henry Patriots) were the first team in rural N.W. Ohio to garner state titles in all three major boys sports of football (2005), basketball (1997) and baseball (2008). If I'm recalling correctly, this feat was later matched by a neighboring school just South of PH, the Ottawa-Glandorf Titans.


Well-known member
Just saw this, I pitched for X HI. The Reading game was my first start and only 2nd appearance, there were probably about 20 pro scouts there to watch Osteen, after I lost 1 to 0, could hardly miss about 10 of them come over to talk to our coach Berning. They had no idea who I was.

Richard Berning was X Baseball Coach when you played?


New member
This is a story I did this spring on the 50th anniversary of Findlay winning the first AAA state championship. Rarely have I had as much fun researching or writing an article.

50 YEARS LATER .....

Woody Curlis knew baseball, he understood his players and, most important, he trusted his gut.
Still, more than a few eyebrows, fan and foe alike, were arched in concern and confusion that June day in 1971 when Curlis looked down his bench, zeroed in on Joe Benjamin, and told the sophomore scrub to get a bat.
Who? What?
Pinch-hitting for the pitcher is a common move in baseball. But this wasn’t some mid-week make-up game between two middle-of-the-pack teams looking to wrap up the season. This was the Class AAA state championship game, Findlay facing Kettering Fairmont East in a winner-take-all showdown … and at the moment, things were not looking good for the Trojans.
Down 5-1 in the fifth inning, Findlay had scratched and clawed and, thanks to some shoddy Kettering Fairmont fielding, had trimmed the deficit to 6-4 in the top of the seventh inning. The Trojans had a run in and the bases loaded, but hadn’t had a solid hit in innings off Fairmont’s Jake Nayhouse. They were down to their final out when Curlis tapped Benjamin – and destiny – on the shoulder.
This wasn’t the situation fate seemed to have had in store when Findlay started the season. The Trojans had gotten to the 1970 Class AA state semifinals with a rather young team the year before, but the start of the 1971 season did nothing to reinforce the optimism many felt was warranted. The Trojans lost three of their first four games and tied another. They did improve to 7-5-1 with a 5-0 win over Tiffin Columbian on April 30 of that year, but the very next day lost a 4-2 decision to Fremont Ross in getting ousted from the Buckeye Conference playoffs.
Entering OHSAA tournament play, Findlay owned just a 9-6-1 overall record.
If Curlis was concerned about Findlay’s won-loss record, he wasn’t showing it.
“The way I coached my kids, winning (those games) to me was not that important,” Curlis said.
“They knew I treated the regular season kind of like exhibition games. Once the tournament rolled around, though, look out, ‘cause we’re coming after you.”
Curlis had also taken to starting the season with a spring swing through southern Ohio where the Trojans squared off against many of the Cincinnati-area schools like Moeller (1972, ‘89), Elder (1973, ’78, ’84), Western Hills (1977, ’86), Oak Hills (1980) and Hamilton (1983) that would win nine of the first 19 big school state titles after the OHSAA decision to go to three classifications of schools.
During that spring swing in 1971, Curlis proved prophetic.
“We went down and played Cincinnati Princeton. They were, like, 11-1 and we hadn’t played a game yet,” Curlis said.
“They had guys on first and second, one out. They hit a ground ball to our shortstop, he flips it to the second baseman covering. The (Princeton) guy comes sliding in, kicks the ball into left field, and a run scores.
“We pitched Chuck Rogers, our best, against their best kid, who I think got drafted by the Orioles that year. We lost the game 1-0. But afterwards I told the kids, ‘You proved to me you can win the state championship. You have that ability.’’
Findlay entered tournament play with an unspectacular 10-6-1 record. But the Trojans were on a bit of a roll, having won nine of their previous 12 games, and things were looking up. A day before their sectional opener with Celina at Lima’s Simmons Field, Roger Seims, a solid pitcher who had been sidelined most of the season recovering from knee surgery, got his first start of the season and threw a three-hitter in an 8-0 win over Marion Harding.
While Curlis prepped and preened his team for tournament play, Mother Nature put the brakes on Findlay’s momentum. Heavy rains postponed the sectional opener not once but twice, but it all worked out in the end with the Trojans cruising to a 10-0 win over Celina. Junior ace Chuck Rogers pitched a three-hitter, struck out 11 and belted two two-run home runs. First baseman Dale Swiger had a two-run dinger as well.
Following a 6-3 win over Mansfield Senior in a non-tournament game, Findlay returned to Simmons Field and beat Marion Harding for the second time in a week and fourth time that season. Rogers fired a four-hitter and Findlay (13-6-1) turned three double plays in the 4-0 sectional final win.
Rogers, who had won five tournament games during Findlay’s run to a state semifinal appearance the year before, was a marquee player for the Trojans. The 6-foot-6 right-hander would go on to lead the University of Michigan to back-to-back Big Ten championships and, after being selected by the Cubs in the eighth-round of the 1975 draft, played nine season of pro ball, including several at the AAA level.
Findlay’s strong feeder system from the youth leagues on up had provided Curlis with a number of other Division I-caliber college talents as well.
Second baseman Terry Moore, who batted .368 with nine runs-batted-in, 17 stolen bases and 19 runs scored, went to the University of Toledo, third baseman Randy Hamlin (.306, 10 RBI) and first baseman Dale Swiger (3 HR, 14 RBI) to Bowling Green, and outfielders Bill Scott (.357, 18 R, 11 RBI) to Purdue, Keith Woodruff (.277, 9 RBI) to Ohio University and Frank Burke to the Air Force Academy on both baseball and football scholarships.
Karl Wirtz went to Austin Peay, Jimmy Brockman to Morehead State and Frank Cosiano to Notre Dame before attending med school at Ohio State.
Randy Heldman played short while behind the plate was Ken Brooks, Ohio’s UPI Class AAA Basketball Player of the Year in 1972 who played at Ohio State and Eastern Michigan.
Seim’s return strengthened a pitching staff that included Rogers (7-2, 1.61 ERA, 79 Ks in 67 IP), Dave Schellin (4-1, 1.05 ERA, 28 Ks) and Hamlin (3-3, 4.12 ERA, 33 Ks).
Most were on the team that trekked to Columbus the year before. But there was definitely something different about this group.
“I think that ’71 team had a better desire to win than the previous season,” Curlis said.
“We were young when we got down there (in 1970) and we didn’t play well. I’ll tell you, experience makes a big difference.”
Still, they were teenagers. And teenagers can be quirky.
A day before Findlay was to return to Simmons Field and face Tiffin Columbian in the district semifinals, the Trojans committed two costly errors, struggled at the plate and lost a 4-3 game to Lima Central Catholic.
Tournament play seemed to bring out the best in the Trojans, though, and on a sunny May 18 afternoon, Rogers pitched a three-hitter with six strikeouts and Findlay sent 11 men to the plate and scored five times in the second inning in a 7-2 win. Woodruff (3-1B) and Rogers drove in two runs each.
That win set up an interesting district final three days later against Lima Senior. It would be a classic pitchers rematch between Rogers and Lima’s Dan Hebel … and there was history there.
In the opening game of the 1971 season, Rogers and Hebel were the starting pitchers and both went the distance in a game that was called because of darkness after eight innings with the score 0-0.
The two squared off again later that season. Both threw three-hitters in a game Lima won 2-1.
Now a district championship was on the line for the third matchup between the star right-handers.
Lima Senior scored first, but Swiger tied it with as solo home run in the second inning. The pitchers duel continued into the sixth when Moore and Scott came through with one-out singles. Moore would score on a throwing error, with a heads-up Scott following him across the plate when the ball rolled up the far fence line.
Rogers had a five-hit victory, and for the second straight year the Trojans were district champions.
The Class AAA regional semifinal was to be held at Franklin High School in Columbus and was billed as another expected pitchers duel between Rogers (7-2) and Jack Packett, who was 11-2 and the ace of a Portsmouth team that brought a 27-4 record into the game.
Portsmouth got to Rogers for singles runs in the first and third innings. Findlay was still down 2-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth when Scott drew a leadoff walk and Hamlin followed with a single.
After a fly out to right, Rogers, who would allow just four hits, strike out 10 and chalk up the win as a pitcher, actually won it with his bat, hammering Packett’s first pitch over the fence for a three-run home run.
The next day, it was déjà vu all over again … literally.
In a carbon copy repeat of the semifinal with Portsmouth, this time in a scoreless game with Columbus Eastmoor, Rogers belted another sixth-inning home and it stood up for a 1-0 regional championship victory.
Since Rogers had pitched the day before, Seim took the mound, only his second start and third pitching appearance of the season. Seim pitched out of a bases loaded jam in the third innings thanks a good defensive play by Moore. He also got out of a bases-loaded, nobody out jam in the fifth on a 5-2-3-2 double play and a caught-looking strikeout.
For the second straight year, the Trojans were state bound.
All coaches want their teams to get hot at the right time. When the 1971 state tournament rolled around, the weather cooperated.
On a stifling June 4 day with temperatures in the upper 80s, Findlay put its 17-7-1 record up against Warren Western Reserve’s 20-11 slate in the state semifinals at the Ohio State University Freshman Field.
Rogers pitched well in the heat, giving up just three hits and striking out 13. It was still a scoreless pitchers duel, though, until Rogers and Swiger drew walks leading off the bottom of the fourth inning and Hamlin hammered his one and only home run of the season. Findlay would end up winning 4-0, the fourth straight tournament game in which Findlay had either tied or won the game with a dramatic home run.
In Ohio’s first-ever Class AAA state championship game, Findlay would square off against a 20-10-1 Kettering Fairmont team.
Unlike the earlier tournament games that were usually determined by great pitching, great defense and timely hitting, this one was a 10-8 slobber-knocker that went eight innings and saw errors and misplays play a major role. It also showcased one of the most stunning come-throughs by one of the likeliest heroes in Ohio prep baseball state tournament history.
Findlay trailed 5-1 in the fifth inning and was still down 6-3 heading into the seventh. The Trojans date with destiny was far from over, though.
Findlay trimmed the deficit to 6-3, then to 6-4 when Moore and Scott reached on errors and Rogers and Swiger delivered a run with fielders-choice grounders. Woodruff walked to load the bases, but still, the Trojans were a run down and down to their final out.
Seim, the pitcher was scheduled to hit. But Curlis had a hunch.
“I was sitting there on the bench when coach Curlis said ‘Joe, get a bat. You’re on deck,’” Benjamin said from his home in Alabama.
One of just three sophomores on an 18-man varsity roster (Findlay freshmen still attended 7th-8th-9th-grade middle school at the time, and Findlay had no JV team) Benjamin had only moved back to Findlay when his father retired from the military in January.
His stat line, in 26 games, was pretty short.
“I hit a line drive single in our first doubleheader of the season,” Benjamin recalled. “Then I went 0-for-4 after that. I guess coach saw something in me, maybe in practice.
Curlis did. And despite the pressure of the situation, his gut was telling him to put the kid in.
“I’m sure people wondered why I picked him, a kid who had only five at-bats all year,” Curlis said.
“You know, I think the biggest thing for a coach to have a successful team is to have confidence in your kids, knowing if they can do this or they can do that. I’m not saying this bragging-ly, but I pretty much knew what my kids could do … and they didn’t disappoint me. A coach can’t ask for more than that.
“As for the Benjamin kid, you know what? He may have had only five at-bats all year, but he never struck out. With the bases loaded there was pressure on everybody, the defense, too. I was confident he would put the bat on the ball, so I said get up there and get a hit … and he did.”
Benjamin didn’t notice the butterflies, at least not right away.
“I really wasn’t nervous when I got out there,” he said. “We had a guy on deck and there were already two outs. I was trying to figure out what needed to happen in order for me to come to the plate. Then they walked the guy in front of me (Woodruff), I go up to the plate and, man, I was so nervous. It was unbelievable.”
The jitters didn’t last.
“After the first pitch or two I settle down. I wasn’t nervous any more,” Benjamin said.
“I guess muscle reflexes were coming into play.”
Nayhouse got ahead in the count, but Benjamin dug in, stayed calm and worked the count full.
“With a 3-2 count, their pitcher threw me a fastball right down the middle,” Benjamin said. “It was high, but it was probably going to nick the strike zone, but if not it was too darn close to let go by …. So I went ahead and swung and fouled it straight back.
“The next pitch, he threw me the same pitch, the one I had just seen, but this pitch was maybe a ball lower than the one before. That’s the one that I hit.”
At first, he thought, not very well.
“I was a line drive hitter, and honest to God, when I hit that ball it went high in the air and that’s not right,” Benjamin said.
“I thought it was going to be a routine fly ball to the center-fielder and the game was ended. But then I thought maybe the guy will drop it or something so I put my head down and I’m digging for first base as fast as I could go. When I got about halfway to first I look up and coach (Dee) Boyer, our first base coach, and he’s giving me the ‘ol wheely sign with his left arm and he’s going, ‘go, go go go,’ and he’s the only person I can hear because the fans had gone berserk. It was pandemonium.
“As I round first base I look out and I can see the center-fielder and he’s still going back. Their outfielders were all playing in a few steps because the bases were loaded and with the guy on second being the tying run they were thinking about cutting that run down at the plate and ending the game even if I did manage to get a single.
“I don’t think they ever thought this skinny 150-, 155-pound sophomore was going to hit the ball over their heads, but there must have been some adrenalin involved there.”
Benjamin’s blast to the base of the fence in straight-away center cleared the bases and turned a 6-4 deficit into a 7-6 lead. Dave Schellin’s RBI double then put Findlay up 8-6.
Kettering Fairmont would rally to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh, but Findlay rode its hard-won momentum of the seventh inning to victory.
In the eighth inning, Moore reached on an infield single, his third hit of the day, and raced to third on a throwing error on Scott’s grounder to third. Rogers then delivered an RBI single for what would be his third game-winning hit in four regional and state tournament games. Findlay made it 10-8 on a sacrifice fly and Rogers, the winning pitcher in seven of Findlay’s eight tournament games, locked it down from there.
And for the second time that day, the Trojans got happy feet.
“When I saw the ball drop by the 400-foot sign in center, it was a no brainer whether I was going to make second base. The question then was whether I was going to third,” Benjamin said, recalling his clutch game-turning triple.
“When I was about halfway to second I look at the third base coach, which was coach Curlis, and he had his arms up telling me to stop at second. But I could see the shortstop, and I could tell by his body language he was not in a good position to throw to third. It was so noisy, I doubt he could hear anyway, and the other outfielders were not pointing toward third, so he was getting no information
“There was a point of no return. So I took one last look over my shoulder and I made a command decision, the first executive decision of my life. I ignored the coaches direction and when the shortstop turned to his right, toward second, and not left, toward third, I knew I had third.
“It worked out. If it hadn’t I know coach would have had me running after the game. But I went in standing up, and then (Fairmont) called a time out, and when they did coach Curlis came over and we danced, danced almost all the way out to left field before turning around and coming back in.
“How many people do you know who danced with their coach like that?”
Just those that just won a state championship, Joe.


Well-known member
is this the end of Elder winning once in ten years ........

Elder coach blow it against Moeller in 2012 at UC.........

That streak did officially end in 2019. Elder is looking to start a new streak in 2021 or at least extend the state leading team state championships to 13.